Post-Mortem on the Month of Foam Rolling

This is a dual post. We’re going to recap the month, but we’re also going to talk about one of the prime lessons learned over the Super Awesome Year of Me.

Recapping the Month

Through 16 days, I actually did pretty well. I missed two days and had a massage on a third (so no need for foam rolling). The first miss was election night. The other was a Friday. I don’t have a good excuse for the Friday miss, but it happens.

And then I got sick.

The evening of the 16th, I felt a sore throat starting to come on. The next day, I stayed home to try and get ahead of the cold. I failed in that endeavor and was completely out of it for a couple of days. I wouldn’t feel well until Monday, and then I was traveling.

Being sick and foam rolling is a no-go for me, and I wasn’t going to travel with my roller. Those are excusable. Once the 26th rolled (get it?) around, I have no excuses. I just didn’t foam roll, and that’s really dumb when you consider I ran two more times to close out the month.

Lazy. We’ll get more on that in the next section.

So what did foam rolling do for me? Honestly, I don’t know. I’m not sure two weeks was a enough. In that two weeks, I didn’t really notice too terribly much. The one change was slightly better posture, but I was also working on core strengthening exercises during that time too, so I can’t fully credit the roller. My range of motion wasn’t any better, and I didn’t seem any less achy than usual.

All in all, this was a meh month. I don’t know if it would have been if I hadn’t fallen off halfway through. I guess we’ll never know.

The Big Lesson of the Year

The first loss is the worst loss. This is the big thing I’ve picked up. One loss doesn’t mean I have to quit the whole thing, but I’ve learned once that first loss happens, the second one is easier to make.

I think it’s about the streak. You feel more pressure to keep the streak alive the longer it goes. Once the streak is broken, I don’t feel as bad about letting the others happen.

Now usually, one loss does not mean total failure. Especially early in the year, I’ve usually done a good job of getting back on the wagon. Unfortunately, as the year goes on, my energy has faded, and I’ve had a lot of second halves of months that have been total train wrecks.

And this gets to how we set goals. Last year, my goal was do a 5K every month. I didn’t have to run the whole thing or hit a certain time. I just had to finish. I didn’t have to run X amount of days a week. All that really mattered was the 5K. So whether I had a good running month or a bad running month, it was meaningless as long as I finished my races.

I put myself in a better position to succeed. Of course I was still trying to run a few times a week. I’d be stupid not to. But that wasn’t the goal. If it was rainy, cold, obscenely hot, etc., I could stay inside without risking my goal. If an injury came on (and they did), I could let myself heal as much as possible before lacing up for 3.1 miles.

At the end of the day, I still had to run the race. I made it through two freezing-cold races. I traversed the only hills in the state of Florida. I ran in the rain. I ran when I wasn’t entirely sure if my foot was structurally sound. The process wasn’t easy, but the process was more forgiving than daily goals while still providing a long-term plan that running one big race or time would miss.

Basically, this is going to affect my goals moving forward. Next year is 6 1oKs. The one downer is that I’m not setting an every other month rule, so I could technically finish at any time, but I don’t expect that to occur. 1) It was hard enough to find 5Ks, so 10Ks will be even more of a problem. 2) 5Ks beat me up, and 10Ks kick me when I’m down, so there’s a healthy amount of fear here to keep from running them too close together. This will also help ensure I don’t rest too much between races. I can eke out 3.1; I can’t eke out 6.2. I have to truly prep. This will ensure I keep putting shoes to pavement.

But that’s a tomorrow problem. For now, I need to get back to this final month and read some books.

-Q

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